January 29, 2010

To navigate through the site, please use the tabs above. I’ve changed the layout and the navigation, hopefully you’ll find it easier. The years which were previously blog postings are now fixed pages. Due to some misuse, I’ve disabled comments. Any images or information relating to the Ballroom, the bands that played there or Albert Bonici would be much appreciated. If you still want to add stories, info, photos or anecdotes, please mail them to info@rockmine.com. Anything relevant to the blog will get added.

Since this blog was created, it’s been viewed more than 40,000 times. I thought you’d like to see where people have been visiting from. Everything in pink on this map is a country that someone’s visited from. It makes the old British Empire globes that I grew up with pale into insignificance!

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I know you’ll probably think I’ve been neglecting this blog but it’s been a time issue. That and the ease with which I seem to have spent far too long trying to stage this memorabilia exhibition at the Ballerina’s sister venue in Elgin. The Two Red Shoes was Albert Bonici’s first venue and played host to The Beatles on the first night of their first tour in Scotland. I do wonder what would have happened if the weather had not caused the cancellation of the scheduled gig the night before at the Longmore Hall in Keith!

I imagine I would have put up a blog for the Longmore Hall but instead I chose to add the Two Red Shoes blog to this one. Maybe it’s a crazy idea but Albert’s Elgin venue seems so totally different from the Ballerina. After The Beatles played there, the Two Red Shoes had three years of attracting some of the best bands on the circuit and then it slumped. By late 1966, when the Ballerina was really starting to take off, the Elgin venue was failing. In 1967, only two big name bands played there. Okay, one was Pink Floyd but Nairn attracted 10 major acts that year. By 1968, things were even worse with Albert presenting “exotic dancers” instead of name acts. Exotic dancers, in case you wondered, were strippers. Albert, ever the svengali, failed to tell the dancers that they couldn’t strip until they actually got to the venue and, needless to say, never even considered telling the press who he was really having onstage.

Still, it’s a legendary venue. Whether it deserves that status is anyone’s guess. My many weeks trying to set up the memorabilia exhibition did at least mean I could research all the bands that played Elgin but it doesn’t really make up for the wasted time. I think I’ve consigned the exhibition to history and have started to list some of the stuff on my main site. As I get more stuff up, I’ll add it to a page here so anyone that’s interested can look without fear that I’m using the main part of the blog to sell stuff.

Talking of blogs, I’ve decided to add a few more. Having been a compulsive list maker for more years than I care to mention, I have dates for most of the appearances at London’s Marquee Club, The Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco, Fillmore East in New York and Glasgow Apollo. The only one with anything on it as yet, is marqueeclub.wordpress.com.

Back to this blog, just in case you haven’t noticed, I’ve added 1970 to the listings and have another three years that I just need to type in.

One last thing. Does anyone know where the bands that played the Ballerina stayed? Did Albert use an hotel or like Elgin, did he have a favourite boarding house? I was recently told that the Elgin landlady was shocked and totally disgusted at how dirty The Beatles were when they stayed with her but I didn’t manage to get her name, so couldn’t follow it up.

My apologies to anyone who looked in last night or earlier today expecting to see 1969 online. A long day and maybe a tad too much white wine took its toll. Anyway, it’s up now and can be seen by clicking on December 1969 in the Archives box to the right.

As before, I’ll be adding the video clips along with more photos either later today or early tomorrow.

Shannies has added a few more thoughts about his time with the Rebel Sounds. You’ll find it in the comments for About This Blog. I’m looking forward to hearing more from him. His comment about playing two gigs a night is something I think we forget. Everyone did it. The Beatles would sometimes play 3 different gigs a night and one at lunchtime in their days of playing The Cavern and even headlining bands would do it. I once had a poster for a Rolling Stones performance at the Flamingo Ballroom, Ballymena which they travelled to after playing the Ulster Hall in Belfast. Crazy days!

Take a look at the “Regular Bands” page for a great posting from James Shand or “Shannies”. I love his story about supporting David and Jonathan. It’s always amazes me the things that support bands saw and had to put up with. Shannies’ posting just goes to illustrate this.

I’m heading for the library in Nairn again and I’ll get my listings extended up to 1972 at least. The listing for 1969 will be online some time tonight.

The Rebel Sounds

August 21, 2008

I got a rather touching comment this evening from Drew Green, son of the late Benton who was a member of The Rebel Sounds. He asked if I could email him any photos or cuttings I have on the band but unfortunately all I have is on this blog.

I’m sure that some of the readers of this blog must have more than I do and possibly more important, memories of the band they might share with us and Drew. The blog was intended as a forum for memories and from my point of view it would be great to hear what people thought of The Rebel Sounds as they were obviously crowd pleasers or they would never have played the Ballerina so often.

Needless to say, my comment applies to anyone who played there. If you remember a group and enjoyed them, please share it with us.

After weeks of trying to get a rock memorabilia exhibition staged at the Ballerina Ballroom I will be holding one next week but it won’t be in Nairn. It will be at the Red Shoes Theatre in Elgin, previously known as the Two Red Shoes Ballroom and once also run by Albert Bonici.

The problem that dogged the exhibition from the outset has been insurance and while I could see no way of dealing with that, there was a simple solution. I’ll be on hand when the theatre is open to answer any questions and maybe even sell something!

One other things is I’m considering running a similar blog to this or even adding an Elgin section to this one. While there would be little difference from 1966 onwards, the Two Red Shoes was playing host to bands from 1962. The Beatles, of course, played there in January 1963. I’ll keep you posted on what I decide.

The actual dates for next week have still to be worked out but I’ll post them here when I do. It also means I can get along to the library in Nairn and get the listing I need from 1970 onwards.

Find A Year

August 18, 2008

It seemed really confusing to have to scroll through every post to get to 1966 for example, so I’ve changed the blog layout. The box to the right of the postings will give the archives. If you want to see 1966, just click on December 1966 and you’ll get the complete year. Hope that makes life easier. If not, please tell me!

Ballerina Flyer Day

August 16, 2008

Maybe it’s me being here but the rain has stayed away and is giving Nairn its first dry Highland Games in three years. It’s a quick visit to get flyers passed out in various places in town and what I’d like to call “posters” for the blog but they’re nothing more than A4 sheets that I’m hoping will get input from anyone that sees them.

It’s also a great opportunity for you to stop me in the street and tell me some of your stories or give me advice on how to get a better blog experience up. Okay, I know the answer to that one – TIME! I really will get round to adding some of the gig adverts, pop columns from The Northern Scot and pictures of the North East bands that played here.

Seriously, if you want to, just stop and say hello. You probably can’t miss me. One of the women in landbrokes (honest, I wasn’t betting but asking about their old shop) said she thought John Lennon had walked in. If that isn’t enough of a give away I’ll also be carrying a silver carrier bag full of flyers. Of course, I may not be carrying it if I get rid of them all but I digress.

Failing that, you’ll find me in the library for some time before they shut staring at the microfiche reader and getting the dates for 1967 that are missing from yesterday’s listing. Please don’t call me John, my name’s Roy!

Talking of the pop columns, there’s one fantastic piece around the time that Cream played the Ballerina. Eric Clapton had given an interview to one of the music papers in which he decried the fans in Scotland. On reading it, or more likely hearing of it, Albert Bonici, the promoter defiantly stated that he’d make sure Clapton never played here again! Little did he realize the status Eric would achieve.

Okay, that’s it for now. I’ll see you in town or you can catch up with the missing dates later.


August 15, 2008


This year is incomplete. I’ve been relying on The Northern Scott for listings of Albert Bonici‘s events but they missed out all the Ballerina gigs until May 1967. Since then, I’ve discovered the Nairnshire Telegraph which did list everything. The first part of 1967 will be up as soon as possible. Anyway, until then, enjoy what’s here.

May 05 The Alan Price Set plus The T-Set. The clip above comes from the German TV show “Beat Club” and features Alan Price performing “Simon Smith And His Amazing Dancing Bear”.

July 07 Cream plus Newton’s Theory with its Go-Go Girls. The gig was cancelled when the van carrying the band’s equipment failed to turn up.

July 10 Cream return to play their concert. The rare footage above is from the Paris Pop Festival staged last month, the track is “We’re Going Wrong” and shows the band at the peak of their career.

July 21 Pink Floyd. “See Emily Play” was climbing the charts and here the band are miming to it on a Belgian TV show.
July 28 Gino Washington and The Ram Jam Band plus The Copy Cats

August 18 The Small Faces – concert cancelled.
August 31 Zoot Money and his new group Dantalion’s Chariot plus The T-Set

September 08 The Freddie Mack Show
September 15 The Throb plus The Life N’ Soul
September 22 Tony Merrick plus The T-Set

October 06 The Who plus Gideon’s Few. The Who were in the charts with “I Can See For Miles” and here it is In Colour from The Smothers Brothers TV Show.
October 13 The Beatstalkers plus The Rebel Sound

October 20 The Four Shades Of Blue plus The T-Set
October 27 The Tamala Express plus The Beatroute

November 03 The Rhubarb plus The Barons
November 10 Clock-work Orange plus Last Chapter
November 17 Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich

December 01 The Delroy Williams Show plus Keith Taylor

December 08 The Troggs plus The Throb. Here are the Troggs with their original version of “Love Is All Around” which got to number 5 in October. The promo film is typically surreal for the time but gives great glimpses of the band on stage and in transit to gigs.

December 15 Symon Dupree. Ok, you and I both know that it should be Simon Dupree but the adverts carry a “y”. Here he is with The Big Sound performing “Kites” which hit the top ten last month. The video’s a bit jumpy but it does show exactly how the band were on stage.
December 22 Cash Boutique Queen For 1967. Grand Final
December 25 Aberdeen Students’ Charities’ Campaign present Their Xmas Beatnik Ball with The Circle plus The T-Set
December 29 The 1967 Last Fling with The Middle Earth plus The T-Set


December 31, 1969

January 01 – The T-Set

January 17 – Impact

January 23 – Marmalade. Here they are with “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” which hit number one in the U.K. charts last month.

January 24 – The T-Set

January 31 – The Rogues

February 07 – Archimedes Principle

February 13 – Symon Dupree (sic) plus The Charge Of The Light Brigade

February 14 – Valentine Queen Special starring The Charge Of The LIght Brigade

February 21 – Spectacular 3 Band Rave. The Royal Teens plus The Probe plus The Grey Wooly Affair

February 28 – Marjorine

March 07 – Krisis

March 14 – Power Vane

March 21 – The Whiskas plus The T-Set

March 28 – Skippin’ Rope ‘N’ Bangles

March 30 – The Lucky Charms

April 04 – Gully Foyle

April 11 – The Albert Fish

April 18 – Taste Of Honey

April 25 – The Power Vane

May 02 – Pearl And Dean Boogaloo Band plus The T-Set

May 09 – The Elizabeathans

May 16 – The Mixture

May 23 – The Candy Carnival

May 30 – Due to Nairn Golf Week, regular Friday night dance will take place in the Victoria Hotel, Forres – Klooks

June 06 – The Illusions

June 08 – Girl Talk

June 13 – The Rogues

June 15 – My Dear Watson

June 20 – The T-Set

June 22 – 10% Butter

June 27 – Mother Hubbard

June 29 – The T-Set

July 04 – The Land Of Love

July 06 – My Dear Watson

July 11 – Russ & Johnny plus My Dear Watson plus The T-Set

July 13 – The Riot Act

July 18 – Chesters plus Bohemians

July 20 – The Riot Act

July 25 – Power Vane plus My Dear Watson

July 27 – My Dear Watson

July 30 – The Tender Plenty plus The Roosters

August 01 – Writing On The Wall

August 03 – The T-Set plus Les Oiseaux

August 08 – Frigsby Dyke and The Rising Sun

August 10 – The T-Set plus disc jockey

August 15 – Illusions

August 17 – Tangerine Atmosphere plus Little Jinny

August 22 – The New Art plus My Dear Watson

August 24 – My Dear Watson

August 29 – The Pram plus Soul Purpose

August 31 – The Rising Sun

September 05 – King Size Keen

September 07 – The Twelfth Night

September 12 – Glamour Night starring Nancy with The Candy Floss

September 14 – Copperplate Movement

September 19 – Writing On The Wall plus The T-Set

September 26 – My Dear Watson plus The 5-Piece London Variations

October 03 – The Aries plus The Facells

October 10 –  “It’s Krazy Night” Marp and The Tes-T

October 17 – The Sugar plus The Spiggy Topes

October 24 – The T-Set

October 28 – The Herd

October 31 – It’s A Hippy Happening For Hallowe’en with Sunshine (ex-Rogues) plus Mother Hubbard

November 07 – My Dear Watson plus The Grey Wooly Affair

November 14 – Treacle

November 21 – The Fabulous Motown Review

November 28 – The T-Set

December 05 – My Dear Watson plus The Grey Wooly Affair

December 12 –  Writing On The Wall

December 19 – Gods Squad

December 24 – Twilight Zone plus Sour Mash plus The Grey Wooly Affair

December 28 – The Trunk Line